Education and Family | WGLT

Education and Family

Tri-Valley Middle School To Receive National Honor

Sep 26, 2019
Tri-Valley Middle School in Downs
Village of Downs website

Tri-Valley Middle School was named one of 25 Illinois elementary, middle, and high schools to receive a 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools award.

First Student bus
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Unit 5’s school board president said Wednesday the district should consider exploring other transportation options starting next year amid concerns about its current busing company, First Student.

Helen Brandon
Jolie Sherman / WGLT

Next month the 2020 Illinois Teacher of the Year will be chosen from among the 10 finalists.

ISU Stevenson Center Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Sep 11, 2019
Beverly and Frank pose
Mary Cullen / WGLT

The Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development at Illinois State University holds itself accountable for creating tomorrow’s leaders in McLean County.

Students at one-room schoolhouse
Unit 5 / Facebook

Illinois has a teacher shortage, and policymakers are trying some big ideas to fix it. That includes raising the minimum teacher salary and getting rid of the Basic Skills Test requirement.

IWU Names Search Committee For New President

Sep 4, 2019
Staff / WGLT

Illinois Wesleyan named a 12-person committee to find the private university's 20th president.

Mary Cullen / WGLT

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration awarded Illinois State University’s Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) with a $2.8 million Advanced Nursing Education Workforce grant—one of the largest the college has ever received.

Heartland Sees Largest Freshman Class In 4 Years

Sep 4, 2019

Heartland Community College welcomed its largest freshman class in four years with over 1,500 new students.

Unit 5 Plans for $12.8 Million Deficit

Aug 29, 2019
Staff / WGLT

The Unit 5 school district is on track to end this fiscal year with a $12.8 million deficit. That's part of the tentative $192 million total budget for 2019-2020. 

Teaching Children About Sex, Consensual Touch

Aug 23, 2019
Erin Ripley-Gataric
Mary Cullen / WGLT

Even if the conversations are uncomfortable, a community sex educator said it's important for parents to start young when talking about themes of sex and body anatomy with their children.

Unit 5 Updates Finals Exemption Policy

Aug 15, 2019
Mary Cullen / WGLT

The Unit 5 school board approved a change to its finals policy Wednesday, expanding final exam exemptions to include high school juniors.

Director for Secondary Education Dan Lamboley said the previous policy allowed seniors with an “A” or “B” grade and no more than six absences to opt out of finals for that class.

“What we’re proposing to start in spring 2020 is any junior or senior with an ‘A’ average in a class on the last day of the semester would be exempt from that final assessment,” he said.

Claire speaks to the board
Mary Cullen / WGLT

The Unit 5 school board heard public comment Wednesday from a woman whose daughter was in Jonathan Hovey’s first grade class at Glenn Elementary this past school year.

Unit 5, First Student Prepare For New School Year

Aug 6, 2019
Ryan Denham / WGLT

After at least three years using bus-tracking capabilities, Unit 5 is looking into its next step.

Google Maps view of the plant
Google Maps

Less than a week after the sudden closure of a major employer, LeRoy is hosting a job fair for displaced workers and other jobseekers.

Normal West signage
Staff / WGLT

The Unit 5 school board Wednesday voted to expand a collaborative agreement with Chestnut Health Systems to bring a full-time mental health counselor to Normal West high school.

Barry Hitchins
Carleigh Gray / WGLT

The sales pitch that Unit 5 leaders hope to make to taxpayers later this year began to take shape Monday, as district officials sketched out the need for a community task force—and possibly a consultant—that could lobby the public for passage of a revenue-raising referendum.

Staff / WGLT

The Unit 5 Finance Committee met Wednesday night for preliminary discussions on how to address the district’s growing education fund deficit.

ISU Grad Prepares To 'Jump Into The Real World'

May 14, 2019
Jack poses
Courtest of Jack Whitsitt

It's graduation season, and thousands of students are walking across the stage this month at Illinois colleges and universities.

Mary Cullen / WGLT

Updated 1:10 p.m. | Illinois State workers and student supporters called on the university to increase pay for all workers to a $15 hourly wage, at minimum.

Melinda White addresses the Unit 5 school board
Mary Cullen / WGLT

Members of the Bloomington-Normal community spoke out at the Unit 5 school board meeting Wednesday night, calling for the district to clear the air on the recent resignation of James Harden.

Unit 5 school board candidates
Mary Cullen / WGLT

With six of seven Unit 5 school board seats up for election this year, there are four current members guaranteed to remain seated.

Fight for $15 rally
M. Spencer Green / AP

Two big things are on the horizon for Illinois' child care system.

Kelly, LaNell, and Amy
Mary Cullen / WGLT

Illinois schools rely on at least 68 percent of funding from property tax dollars, according to the state board of education. And the lion's share of property taxes feed into local schools.

Richard Vogel / AP Photo

Illinois’ new governor JB Pritzker has said he wants to legalize, tax, and regulate the sale of recreational marijuana. That move would complicate life for University leaders around Illinois and in Bloomington-Normal.

Heartland building exterior
Carleigh Gray / WGLT

Heartland Community College is considering a possible tuition and fees increase starting next fall.

Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel
Staff / WGLT

The Unit 5 Teachers Union voiced frustrations about a consistent lack of follow through by the school board.

At a recent school board meeting, Unit 5 Education Association President Lindsey Dickinson said the board has yet to correct a series of issues after multiple complaints from the teachers union.

She noted frequently unanswered questions, unfulfilled requests, and little to no follow through on concerns.

District Superintendent Mark Daniel said those concerns are being addressed internally.

Local Colleges Announce STEM Scholarships

Nov 8, 2018
Education officials pose at museum
Mary Cullen / WGLT

The National Science Foundation awarded a combined $4.6 million grant to Heartland Community College, Illinois State, and Illinois Wesleyan universities to bolster STEM studies.

Access to high-speed internet stops about seven miles east of both Nippersink School District 2 and Richmond-Burton Community High School District 157, according to Tom Lind. He’s the superintendent of both districts, located near the border of Wisconsin —  about 70 miles northwest of Chicago.

What test should school teachers have to pass to earn a license in Illinois? The Illinois State Board of Education takes up that question at their meeting Wednesday.

District 87 sign outside Bloomington Junior High School.
Eric Stock / WGLT

District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly said it was eye-opening to see how bad Illinois' teacher shortage is and could become.